Nest opening response of the Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus

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Abstract

Observations on captive Nile crocodiles, Crocodylus niloticus confirm earlier reports on parental care of nests and of young. Male and female appear to form a pair bond after courtship, the male defending nesting territory with the female rarely leaving the nest until the sounds of the young hatching stimulate her to open the nest to release them. The female transports unhatched eggs and live young in her buccal pouch to water and establishes a nursery where the young are defended for several weeks. Experiments involving playback of distress calls by tape recorder, offering of live young and eggs to the adults, the parent opening an artificial nest and vocalisations and resultant interactions between adults and young are described.

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